Wednesday 18 March 2009

New face, same old rubbish - Barnet's New CEO

There is a report in today's Edgware Times detailing the latest developments in the lost Icelandic cash scandal. There is a rather disturbing quote from Barnet's new CEO.

Mr Walkley, giving his first interview as council chief executive, a job he started on Monday, defended the leader.

He said: “I’m obviously really concerned where any public official is being named and vilified in this way, as that is not what public servant gets into things for, but quite clearly there is officer accountability here and officers are accountable for the failures that appear to have happened.

"The treasury department is a highly technical and specialist area and I would be concerned if the day-to-day activites of that team were the subject of member intervention. There is an appropriate division of responsibilities.

"If there are issues beyond the individuals identified, then the council’s procedures will need to deal with those."

Such arrogance. Mr Wakeley clearly thinks that investing cash is too complicated for mere councillors. Personally I would be concerned if day to day activities weren't a concern of members. I think that the trouble in Barnet is that the officers clearly hold councillors in disdain.

Let me explain something to Mr Wakeley. Any system of treasury management should have a minimum of dual signoff for large cash investments. Both authorisors should know the investment rules. Either your council is not being run properly or someone is still in place who signed off investments that they knew breached the policy.

As it was only when members became involved that the shenanigans came to light, Mr Wakeleys claim that members should keep their noses out is clearly shown to be dangerous nonsense. Until these arrogant officials wake up to the fact that they are their to serve the people and not the other way round I expect to see more such proclamations.

I wonder what size plasma TV Mr Walkeley has on his desk? New face, same old nonsese in Barnet


Don't Call Me Dave said...


I am extremely concerned that Mr Walkley - an Officer who I thought was one of the good guys - has effectively cleared Mike Freer of any wrongdoing. We haven’t had the external investigation yet. I thought it was only in the former Soviet Bloc where the results of an investigation were known before the inquiry had even started!

Mr Walkley was previously Executive Director for Resources. Doesn’t this constitute a conflict of interest? Shouldn’t he have been involved in how £2 billion was being invested?

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Just found this on the Council’s website:

Nick Walkley

Nick was the Executive Director of Resources at the Council until last year, where his responsibilities included the Council’s Finance, Human Resources, Property, Customer Care, Organisational Development, Project Management, Revenues and Performance Management arrangements.

Prepare for a cover up!

Anonymous said...

Most concerning about 'Nick's' comments is his spin over 'division of responsibilies'. If Treasury Management is so technical and complex why is the policy governing it maintained by the 'amateur' Cabinet Resources Committee (CRC).

It is clear that 'Nick' is attempting, whilst 'defending the Leader', to put people off the trail that the full and complete responsibility for all of this is with Mike Freer as Chairman of the CRC.

There is no 'division of responsibilities' in the Constitution, quite the reverse. The CRC is specifically charged with recieving regular reports and checking that the policy is being carried out correctly.

As is in the public domain, Freer never even asked for a list of investments and the CRC were so laid back they were almost horizontal in their duties.

Why do Cabinet Members in Barnet never take the wrap? The LGA 2000 was meant to enhance responsibility but this crowd think they have a 'job for life' with every rising pay.

Surely the Cabinet Resources Committee should be replaced en masse? For them to carry on would be as unacceptable as the Board of one of the failed banks carrying on as business as usual after their collapse.

I'm as tough on Officer accountability as anyone, tougher than most. But hanging out Officers to dry, as 'Nick' suggests has been done, is cowardly and disreputable when it is Councillors that have taken their eye off of the ball.